A Juicy Idea

Too often when people talk about juicing, it’s prescribed as a weight loss solution or is touted in the form of a juice fast or cleanse. I’m blogging about juicing with the opposite idea in mind, though – I’m thinking about juicing as an addition to your diet as it is.

The focus of this post (and my relationship to juicing in general) is as an addition to my life and not an extraction from. You won’t find me on a juice cleanse anytime soon 🙂

Here’s what we know about juicing: When you juice a bunch of vegetables and fruit, your juicer revs up and expends a bunch of energy to process the produce so that your body doesn’t have to. The juice that’s extracted from fresh fruits and veggies contains a bunch of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients (plant chemicals), but lacks fiber as that tends to be lost in the juicing process.

Buy Organic. Because juicing calls for fresh fruits and veggies, it’s really important to wash them thoroughly and buy organic. If buying everything organic is not possible, I’d recommend checking out the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen and the EWG Clean Fifteen. The Dirty Dozen is the line up of fruits and veggies that tend to have high concentrations of pesticide residue when purchased conventionally and not organic. These include a bunch of produce that we throw in juices and smoothies apples, celery, spinach, strawberries, cucumbers, etc.

Recipe for the Beet-It juice above:

  • Celery – several stalks
  • 2 Oranges – peeled
  • 1-2 Lemons – peeled
  • 1 Apple
  • 4 Beets – small to medium sized

After washing, peeling off rinds, and roughly chopping – fire up the juicer and smash all of this into the machine. The result is a refreshing, highly nutritious, and slightly salty tasting (because of the celery) drink.

Nutrient Snapshot: 

  • Beets – Beets are high in manganese and potassium. They’re a good source of vitamin C, iron, vitamin B6 and magnesium.
  • Celery – Celery is a great source of vitamin K and contains folate, potassium, and manganese. It’s also a nice source of vitamin C and vitamin B6.

So, take a vacation. Let your juicer do the work. And allow your body to rest and absorb the nutrients …

Posted in Uncategorized

Simple. Spring. Fennel Salad.

2016-04-24 14.01.26

Fennel is my jam these days. I didn’t know what to do with it until a few weeks ago when I asked a farmer at the market how she recommended preparing it. She gave what I thought was an over simplified answer – “Oh, I usually just slice it and throw it into a salad, toss with a bit of olive oil …”

Given what I knew of the strong licorice flavor, I was hesitant that the fennel process could be that simple or turn out so enjoyable. Once I made this salad though, I realized that it actually is that simple to eat raw fennel and enjoy it. There’s something about preparing this salad with a dressing of citrus, olive oil, and sea salt that cuts the strength of the licorice flavor.

Instead, you’re left with a really refreshing salad that’s packed with a bunch of nutrients. Vitamin C plays a big role in fennel and helps to reduce inflammation and may decrease the risk of cancer. Potassium and folate are also prominent and the dietary fiber in fennel inhibits cholesterol build up.

To make this salad:

  • thinly slice the fennel bulb
  • add a few pieces of fresh orange
  • coarsely chop mint leaves
  • mix in raw cashews
  • toss in a mixing bowl with:
    • juice from an orange
    • olive oil
    • dash of sea salt
    • and a bit of pepper

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

New Recipes Coming Soon

20160327_082122-2

I took a hiatus from blogging for a minute. A girl’s gotta sleep in and have strong coffee and breakfast in bed and unplug from it all sometimes. And also, life happens – and sometimes, it knocks you off your ass.

In my case, I learned that a series of decisions made without the right intention, will catch up with you. That if I didn’t check in with myself regularly, I took the mindfulness out of daily life – which seems to cause an unfortunate ripple effect. I also learned that some mistakes are quite large and all encompassing, that it can take some time to emerge from that quicksand.

My passion for health led me to start setting health related intentions each day. Even when my personal life was a wreck, the act of taking control of the things I could – discovering fresh produce and how to use it, not burning the quinoa, making meals (for a party of 1, or for friends), making lunch for the workday … felt nourishing and important.

And, although I haven’t posted in awhile – I’ve still spent a lot of time in the kitchen. That’s where it happens, right? All the good things happen in the kitchen – slowly simmering soup, roasting vegetables, pouring tea, sipping wine with friends, grinding up the coffee beans, snapping open sugar snap peas, inhaling the aroma of fresh herbs and spices, dropping a bag of rice … and then groveling for all the grains.

The stuff of life happens in the kitchen.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Greens & Quinoa Salad

Quinoa 022

This is a quick vegan dish that can be modified a bit based on which produce is in season where you live. This morning, at the farmer’s market (in CA), I came across all of this great looking produce listed below (with the exception of the lemon) and found that it all works really well in this dish. The Thai basil and lemon juice add a really interesting and refreshing flavor – and make it easy to avoid adding salt to this dish. The dish is full of flavor without it (salt), so no need to pile on sodium.

And, fun fact – Quinoa is a really nice source of iron. ¼ cup contains 10% of the recommended daily value.

Suggested ingredients:
-Quinoa (approx 2 cups, uncooked)
-Chickpeas (approx 2 cups)
-Zucchini (1 cup chopped)
-Spinach (1 cup chopped)
-Kale ( ½ cup chopped)
-Heirloom tomato
-Yellow onion ( ¼ cup diced)
-Olive oil
-Lemon juice
-Red pepper flakes
-Black pepper
-Thai basil

Bring 4 cups of water to boil on the stove top, add 2 cups of quinoa and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until the water is absorbed (10-15 minutes). The grain will appear translucent and soft when the quinoa is cooked.

While the quinoa is cooking, chop the zucchini into small cubes until you have approximately 1 cup. Chop the spinach, kale, and onion as well.

When the quinoa is finished, add olive oil (2 Tbsp.) and a bit of lemon juice. Mix together and add the chickpeas. Add the chopped onion, spinach, kale, and zucchini. Add freshly cracked black pepper and red pepper flakes. Mix well.

Top with fresh tomatoes, Thai basil, and another splash of lemon juice.

Quinoa 006

Posted in Dinner, Lunch | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Raw Okra Salad

Raw Okra
There’s a lot of chopping to this salad, I’ll say that up front. And yes, chopping vegetables can be time consuming. The plus side is that this dish is 100% raw, so no need to wait for the oven to heat up and the food to cook.

The salad calls for a lot of creativity – use what’s in season, what looks fresh, and what you can find organically. The rest is basically a personal art creation or kitchen experiment that can’t go wrong.

Suggested ingredients:
-Okra (2-3 cups, chopped)
-1 Heirloom tomato
-1 onion
-Celery ( a few stalks)
-Cauliflower (2-3 cups, chopped)
-Yellow pepper

-Garlic powder
-Lemon juice (1 fresh lemon)
-Red pepper flakes
-Black pepper

Chop all of the vegetables and combine in a bowl. Mix well. Squeeze lemon juice on top. Add a bit of black pepper, garlic powder, and some red pepper flakes. No oil needed and absolutely no animal products used. Easy!

Nutritionally, the okra and cauliflower bring a lot to this dish. Okra is high in dietary fiber, vitamins A, C, and K. Okra also contains B-complex vitamins. Cauliflower delivers a healthy dose of vitamin C, K, and folate. It’s also a good source of vitamin B6.

heirloom

Posted in Dinner, Lunch | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Simple Beet + Black Eyed Peas Salad

When having non-vegans over for dinner, sometimes I feel the need to overcompensate for the lack of meat that I’ll have on the table. Perhaps a hang up from my meat & potato-filled youth, I’m always pleasantly surprised when friends and family don’t bat an eye lash at the “lack” of meat … rather they see the bounty of everything else. I love that.

I mixed together this really simple side dish to accompany a larger meal with friends the other night. I had the “where’s the protein/iron” moment before guests arrived and thus created this salad on the spot as beets and black eyed peas are both decent sources of iron. It was a last minute idea, and turned out really well.

black eyed pea3

Ingredients:

-1 can of organic black eyed peas (if you have time, you could opt for dry beans)
–  ¼  red onion
– 1 yellow pepper
– 1-2 fresh beets

For the dressing:
– 1 lemon
– 6 Tbsp olive oil
– salt and pepper to taste

black eyed pea4

Heat your oven to 400 F to cook the beet(s). Simply spear the beets with a fork – as you would a potato. Place in aluminum foil and put it in the oven for 45 minutes – 1 hour depending on the intensity of your oven.

While the beets are cooking, prepare the other vegetables and the dressing.

For the dressing, juice 1 lemon and whisk together well with the olive oil. Add a generous amount of fresh black pepper and salt (less generous) to taste.

Rinse the black eyed peas really well and set aside. Dice ¼ to ½ of the red onion and the yellow pepper into small pieces.

black eyed pea2

When the beets are ready, remove from the oven and dice these as well. Add the vegetable ingredients to a bowl and mix well. Slowly add the dressing and continue to mix well. If you have time, allow this salad to sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before eating.

black eyed pea

Posted in Dinner, Lunch, Small dish | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Simple detox salad

kale4It’s the weekend. Time to recharge! Although committing to an actual detox program over the weekend can be difficult, I love incorporating cleansing foods and drinks into that well-deserved 2-day break when I can.

Farmer’s markets burst at the seams with the variety of produce that becomes available in the spring – and it’s a great time to pause and become a little more conscious about what we’re putting into our bodies.

It matters.

Try incorporating an easy detox salad like this one into your weekend plans (sure, after a late night of too many cocktails with friends …no one’s judging.)

For this recipe, I used lacinato kale and dandelion greens for the bulk of this salad. If the flavor is too strong, you could try incorporating romaine lettuce as well.kale1Ingredients:

  • ½ avocado
  • Kale (I used lacinato kale)
  • Dandelion greens (purple or green)
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • Lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Sugar snap peas

Wash the kale leaves and cut the avocado in half. Wash the dandelion leaves and sugar snap peas – cut into bite size pieces and set aside in the mixing bowl.

The next step may not be pretty, but it’s delicious. Scoop out a few tablespoons of avocado meat and massage the flesh into the kale. The kale will absorb the oils from the avocado flesh and make it really tender.kale7kale2Slice the kale into slivers and add this to the mixing bowl, accompanying the dandelion greens and peas.

For the dressing: Halve a lemon and squeeze the juice into a mixing bowl. Add a generous tablespoon of paprika and mix together.kale3Drizzle the dressing onto the greens and mix well. Add a bit of fresh cracked black pepper and serve.kale5Ingredient notes:

Dandelion greens have a very sharp flavor, and are frankly pretty bitter. I recommend using only a couple leaves in this salad. If you’re looking for a way to incorporate more dandelion greens into your diet, try blanching or sautéing (with olive oil, garlic, and lemon). It’s worth looking for ways to add this spring food to your diet regime – dandelion greens are incredibly high in vitamin K and calcium and help to purify the blood.

Lacinato kale can be sautéed, steamed, or consumed raw. It’s an excellent source of vitamin A, K, and C. Kale is a solid source of calcium, iron and fiber as well. When buying kale, look for very deeply colored green or purple leaves with firm stems. Buy organic when you can, as pesticides used while growing kale are certainly absorbed into the leaves and will be ingested (think about how the kale leaves absorb the oil of the avocado and the dressing in this recipe).

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments